Bristol Rugby centre Siale Piutau admits there is no better way for his side to bounce back from a bruising defeat last time out, than with a win over West Country rivals Bath Rugby in Round 16.
Bristol conceded eight tries in a 50-17 defeat to Leicester Tigers last week and currently sit bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, six points adrift of Worcester Warriors.
Since the defeat at Welford Road, head coach Mark Tainton has brought in Alan Solomons – former coach with South Africa, Barbarians and, more recently, Edinburgh – as a consultant, and Piutau believes it has given the side a lift.
“For a lot of us as players it is coming back to doing the little things well, whether it is our preparation or our training. I think too often we have been focussing on the opposition,” he said.
“This week the addition of Alan Solomons has brought more clarity to our roles and he has definitely helped with our preparation so far.
“The last few days have been awesome, at the moment we are just working on ourselves. We are just seeing where we can improve, worrying about ourselves rather than concentrating on who we are playing.”
— Bristol Rugby (@Bristol_RFC) February 22, 2017
Piutau’s side travel to Sixways to take on Worcester in Round 17, but the Tongan international insists his side will be fully focused on the task at hand when they take on rivals Bath on Sunday.
The centre admits Bristol have come unstuck in previous games and believes his side must go back to doing the little things well if they are to trouble top opposition.
He said: “I think we have just got to be direct (against Bath). In the past, teams have picked us off because we have been a bit too predictable in the style and the way we play.
“So I think, for us, we want to go back to the basics of running hard, running strong and communicating well. And, I think if we do all those little things well, the results will come.
— Bristol Rugby (@Bristol_RFC) February 21, 2017
“It is the perfect fixture to bounce back at. I think having the crowd there will be awesome, if we can put in a good performance and have them backing us then hopefully we can get that win.
“We have had a look at Bath and what their strengths are and what opportunities we might have. Speaking to a lot of the boys who have grown up in the area, we know how big this game is in the area, being a local derby.
“For us as players it is being able to rise to the challenge after the performance last week.”
Bristol could close the gap on Worcester in eleventh with a win, while the in-form Bath can look to further cement themselves a top-four spot heading into the season’s final rounds.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 22, 2017